The disease where the blood vessels in the brain swell up is known as aneurysm. This is nothing but swelling up of the wall of the affected blood vessel and is usually caused by a weak spot in the vessel that goes out of shape with the constant pressure exerted by the pumping of blood.
Usually an aneurysm develops at a region where the blood vessel tends to branch out into two because this region is particularly vulnerable. Although an aneurysm can develop anywhere in the body, the most common place of development is the blood vessels of the brain or the heart. When the blood vessels in the brain swell up abnormally, it is known as cerebral aneurysm.
This disease is quite fatal as death can occur in minutes of affected blood vessel rupturing.
Usually when cerebral aneurysm first occurs, it is shaped like a small grape that is attached to the blood vessel by means of a stalk. The small bulge is filled with blood and that is why it is often referred to as berry or saccular aneurysm. Sometimes, the swelling in the blood vessel in the brain can be multiple and they all occur together in a cluster.
Some symptoms of brain aneurysm include severe headache that comes on suddenly and fast, pain in the neck accompanied by stiffness, paralysis, seizures, problems with the vision and having difficulty talking. It has been noticed that brain aneurysm is more common in the elderly.
Some causes of cerebral aneurysm are as follows:
- Weak blood vessel which could be a birth defect
- High blood pressure, also known as hypertension that is prevalent for years leading to damage of the blood vessels.
- Fatty deposits or plaque formation on the walls of the blood vessel leading them to become weak. This condition is known as arthrosclerosis.
- Polycystic kidney disease can lead to brain aneurysm.
- Inheriting certain diseases that cause the blood vessels to become weak.
Cerebral aneurysm can lead to a lot of complications like bleeding in the brain tissue surrounding the ruptured blood vessel, water in the brain (hydrocephalus), paralysis, stroke, epilepsy and of course, sudden death.
Usually when a person is detected with cerebral aneurysm, the doctor will try to surgically repair the damage. In addition, the person will be advised bed rest and put on medication to help pain and the seizures. Unfortunately more than half the people die the first day of the cerebral aneurysm or within the next three months. The other half invariably have to live the rest of their lives with disabilities.
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